After any 19-point loss, it’s hard to look on the bright side. Especially when that loss comes at home during an abbreviated season where the schedule looks to be fairly brutal. But let’s save those “same old Warriors” cries until we’ve seen this team play for a couple weeks, at least.
Instead, let’s look at 10 things about the Golden State Warriors that lend one to believe that they might see several better nights throughout the season:
1. Andris Biedrins looked like he did a few years ago. He didn’t shoot any free throws, but he went 5-for-5 from the field, was active on the defensive end (3 blocks) and grabbed 8 rebounds in just 20 minutes.
2. Brandon Rush had a nice Warriors debut. Sure, his body type brings back memories of Devean George during his forgettable days as a Warrior, but Rush played well in his 28 minutes.
3. The Clippers are actually good now. They look like a top-5 team in the Western Conference, with much better roster than the Lakers (or the Warriors, to be honest). Golden State stayed with them for 3.5 quarters even though they shot 39% from the field and went 5-for-21 from 3-point range.
4. Ish Smith looks like a solid addition. He may never elicit the kind of crowd reaction Jeremy Lin did, but he looked a lot more like an NBA player in 5 minutes than Lin did at any point last season.
5. Klay Thompson can’t get any worse. He admittedly had the jitters in his NBA debut, and it showed as Thompson went 2-for-8 from the field, 1-for-3 on threes. If there’s anything Thompson can do it’s shoot from distance, so expect those percentages to rise.
6. Stephen Curry can’t get any worse. 2-for-12, 4 assists and 5 turnovers for Curry, who probably came back about a week (or three) too soon from an ankle injury sustained during the preseason. Curry refused to blame the ankle for his lackluster performance, but what else is he going to say?
7. Ekpe Udoh can’t get any worse. He was rejected by DeAndre Jordan on a turnaround move that took about a full minute for Udoh to complete. You can catch it at around 15 seconds in on the below video that shows all 8(!) of Jordan’s blocks last night.
8. Dorell Wright can’t get any worse (at shooting). 1-for-6 from the field, and all of those were 3-point attempts. Wright was an offensive revelation last year, so one has to imagine that unless something’s wrong he’ll get his stroke back. Wright did pull down 9 rebounds on Sunday night, so his night wasn’t a total loss.
9. The Warriors played good defense (in the first half). Golden State held Los Angeles to 33% shooting through two quarters before falling apart in the second half and letting the game get away in the last 7 minutes. Moral victories aren’t too valuable in the NBA, but at least Mark Jackson and lead assistant Michael Malone have some video proof of that first half to show their team that they have it in them to become at least a decent defensive squad.
10. Jackson’s only getting started. Vinny Del Negro coached this group last year, and the only real adjustments he’s had to make were in response to losing Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman, but that came with the additions of Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups. Jackson’s had less than a month to work with a team that’s never won before (and no, we can’t count “We Believe” because five years is an eternity in the NBA) in his first year as a coach at any level. These things take time.
In about two hours from the time I published this post the Warriors will square off against the Bulls, a team that’s better than the Clippers. If they look terrible against Chicago, feel free to ignore the above 10 beacons of positivity and feel free to go back to your regularly scheduled feelings of Warriors angst.